Everything smells like Peaches


The stars are in some sort of an alignment today. I know they are. The house smells of freshly baked peaches and we just ate something so incredibly good that I heard an exclamation of “that is the best muffin I’ve ever had!” I am very smugly pleased with myself.
We’ve been going seriously strawberry crazy for the past few weeks. You don’t even want to know how much friendly fire there has been. Strawberries are low in calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are delicious on their own, sun kissed and juicy. But lately, these wonderful gems have been attracting all sorts of fat and calories from the most incredible shortcakes ever with rum scented whipped cream (which didn’t stay in the house long enough for pictures or blog entries, even though we went through five rounds of them), to all manner of breakfast goodies (we’re talking waffles, french toast and any number of variations on pancakes). The strawberries somehow got ahead of the cooking this week. We already had two baskets of them in the fridge when I thought it was a good idea to buy another three pack on Sunday. When I got to the seriously ripe berries today, I saw casualties and it wasn’t going to get any prettier.
Most people’s first instinct in this situation is to make jam or some sort of sauce. I kept thinking about the outrageous scones I ate at a long closed down seaside café years ago. The scones were baked with a layer of fresh bananas, strawberries and peaches. An odd baked good, the scones were a bit mushy from the fruit, but the flavor and freshness of the just baked fruit was outstanding. I was so sad when the café closed down. I have been thinking about those scones for years. It got me thinking that the berries would be good baked into something.
I started looking online for a scone or muffin or quick bread recipe. I found a recipe for strawberry muffins that looked pretty basic. The comments from readers of this website agreed that the muffins had potential but were bland until the person did this, or that, or this other thing or yet another thing. Armed with a dozen suggestions the basic recipe and my usual idea of what ingredients a muffin should contain, I set to work. I realized that I had a peach sitting in a bowl on the counter that was now soft but needing to be used. Once I was done, my recipe had nothing to do with the original recipe.
The house, where ever you go, in any room now smells like freshly baked peaches. The muffins are amazing. The texture is moist for a whole grain muffin, the flavor is almost erotic with the heady scent of spices and the sweetness of the fruit and orange zest. The tops baked high and became crispy when they browned. Yes, I agree. These are the best muffins I have ever had too.
 Peach strawberry muffins 
 2 ¾ cups whole grain pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp powdered ginger
¼ tsp allspice
Zest of one orange
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup orange juice
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup peeled, diced fresh peach
¾ cup diced strawberries
Olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray two six up muffin tins liberally with olive oil spray.
In a large bowl, mix flour, both kinds of sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and orange zest until combined.
In another bowl, mix beaten eggs, orange juice, olive oil, milk, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Toss the fruit into the flour mixture, taking care to make sure the fruit is covered in the flour mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir carefully with a rubber spatula until the ingredients are just combined being careful not to over mix or damage the fruit. Divide the batter evenly between the twelve muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool for just a minute and then carefully (don’t burn yourself) remove the muffins from the tins and transfer to a wire rack. (Taking them out of the tins will keep them dry and crunchy). Let them cool a bit. Enjoy warm or completely cooled.